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Press Release Archive (2014)

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January is Cervical Cancer Screening Month

For over 50 years, routine use of the Pap test to screen for cervical cancer has reduced deaths from the disease by more than 70%. A Pap test is a standard way healthcare providers can check to see if there are any changes in the cervix that might cause concern. The Pap test involves looking at a sample of cells from the cervix under a microscope to see if there are any that are abnormal. It is a good test for finding not only cancer, but also finding cells that might become cancerous in the future.

Usually, healthcare providers perform the Pap test as part of a routine pelvic exam at recommended intervals. However, a Pap is not always done at the time of a routine pelvic exam, so it is important to ask your healthcare provider if a Pap was done.

The updated guidelines recommend:

  • Women 21 to 29 should be screened with the Pap test alone (conventional or liquid-based) every three years. HPV testing should NOT be used for screening in this age group.
  • For women 30 and over, the preferred approach is the Pap test plus HPV testing ("co-testing") every five years. Continued screening with the Pap test alone (without HPV testing) every three years is an acceptable alternative. While screening with HPV testing alone is promising, at this time it is not recommended for most clinical settings.
  • Women who have been vaccinated against HPV should follow the age-specific recommendations in these guidelines (for unvaccinated women). Currently, there are no alternative screening recommendations for women vaccinated against HPV.

Learn what Cervical Health Awareness Month is all about.

Find out more about Cervical Cancer: Prevention and Early Detection.

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